Nurses are among the most sought-after professionals and have historically been in high demand. For high school students considering a career in nursing, a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN) is often the best route to take. While there are shorter degree and certification programs, a BSN will provide you with a level of education that will be a great starting point for your career and make you a desirable candidate for prospective hiring managers. Bachelor degrees give students a well-rounded education that hiring managers look for. So, if you are enrolling in a degree program, what can you expect?
Typically, in your first two years, you will take a lot of prerequisite courses that are generally required for any bachelor degree. You’ll take some classes in mathematics, social studies, humanities and social sciences. Some of these classes will be elective, so you can choose classes that interest you. In addition, you’ll take science classes such as chemistry and biology. By the time you start your junior year, you’ll take less general education courses and start taking more classes directly related to nursing.
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Junior and Senior Years
During the last two years of your degree program you’ll take classes such as “introduction to nursing,” where you will learn more about the practical application of your degree. You’ll also start taking classes on pathologies, mental health. Other classes will teach you how to properly assess a patient, learn about the aging process and how to specifically interact and treat your patients. You’ll learn the basics of the aging process, care of children and adults, and how to be a nurse in a maternity ward.
Clinicals and Rotations
At some point in your education, usually in the senior year, you will start working directly with patients in a variety of settings. This gives you the hands-on experience you’ll need in your career and allow you to hit the ground running after your education is complete. Likely you’ll take rotations in a variety of different settings. This is your opportunity to explore, and decide what kind of employment you’ll eventually want. A bachelor degree in nursing prepares you for positions in hospitals, including emergency medicine, intensive care and maternity. You’ll also have the skills needed to be a school nurse, work in a doctor’s office, nursing home or rehabilitation center. Typically, after you have finished your clinicals, you are eligible to take the certification for nurses through the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses or NCLEX-RN.
The field of medicine is constantly changing, and so you will be constantly learning. Often, you’ll learn on the job. You may also choose to specialize. You may find that you wish to continue your formal education with a graduate degree, which would open up new career opportunities. Those with a graduate degree can often manage entire departments of nurses, or deal with more complex patients.
A nursing degree is lucrative and almost always in demand. It is likely that you will not have difficulty finding a job when you get out of college. In fact, some hospitals are in such need of nurses, that they offer hiring bonuses or other incentives to join their organization.
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